More Yarnell's Ice Cream memories. Guest Jim Bohannon Searcy Arkansas Super Sleuth.

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Advantage

Yarnell's closing in Searcy Arkansas has made so many people go back and remember things about their lives growing up in Searcy.  Several worked at Yarnell's.  Here's a note I got from Jim Bohannon.  He gave his permission for me to pass the memories on.


July 7, 2011


Enclosed is the 1929 city map computer CD of Searcy.  I trust you'll enjoy retracing the old city streets and buildings.  Sad, indeed, that Searcy lost Yarnell's.  They were part of Searcy history and in the memories of all who knew them for the quality ice cream they produced.

It was in the fall of 1946, my parents and two brothers were living in Bald Knob.  I recall after finishing lunch at the Bald Knob School cafeteris, we children were passing through the cafeteria door exit and were to receive a fresh cone containing Yarnell's Ice Cream on our way out to the playground.

My uncle, who was a high school senior that year, was scooping out the ice cream and all the children were receiving single dips.  As it came my turn for receiving the cone of ice cream, my uncle gave me a "double dip" along with my two school friends who were with me in line.  To say the least, it was good to know someone in high places.  So was the ice cream.  The school children thought so too.  Especially the three double dippers.

I worked at Yarnell's during the summer of 1956, during my transition from being a junior to senior in high school. I learned a lot that summer, especially observing production line safety.  May I share with you why?

That summer, I worked in the ice cream production line along with the late Marvin Allen, (Marvin passed away in 2009) and Jimmy Don Jackson.  Some 51 years later during our Searcy High School 50th year school class reunion, Jimmy Don shared a remembrance of a day we three were working on the Fudgecicle production line.

The fudgie bars (liguid) were inside a metal compartment tray.  As I recall today, some 55 years later, (forgive me if I forget some of the details), a person would place the liquid chocolate into a metal compartment tray.  The metal compartment tray was placed on a conveyance belt that carried the chocolate liquid into a vat of green looking liquid containing Calcium Chloride, a brine mixture that would quickly freeze the liquid chocolate housed inside the metal trays.

The liquid chocolate would become solid chocolate very quickly.  Another person would insert sticks into the semi-frozen chocolate bars approximately half-way across the vat.  Then another person would pull the trays containing the frozen chocolate fudgecicle bars.  From there, another person would turn the trays over and the frozen bars would fall onto a work table.  After that, the frozen bars would be inserted into paper sleeves and packed for frozen storage until moved by truck to a grocery store.

Why am I telling you this?  Because Jimmy Don reminded me that that was the time I almost got fired and nearly lost an index finger in the same day.  Because you see, we three students had a wager as to who could hold an index finger down into that mixture of Calcium Chloride the longest without the finger becoming a human frozen popsicle.

During a break, Marvin, Jimmy Don and I placed our index fingers in that green liquid stuff.  To say the least the fingers on the three began to quickly tingle followed by a feeling of numbness to the finger.  Marvin and Jimmy Don, being the smartest of the trio, removed their fingers quickly from the freezing liquid.  However,  "Young Jim" kept his finger inside the green stuff in order to win the contest. 

About that time, Ray Yarnell walks by and says, "Kid, what are you doing!  Don't you know you could lose a finger putting it into that liquid!"

"Kid, if you ever do anything like that again, you're fired!"  Moral of the story is I didn't put my finger in that green liquid ever again, I didn't get fired and I didn't lose my index finger.

Thank you, Mr. Yarnell.

I had a great summer of 1956 working at Yarnell's and working with friends like Marvin and Jimmy Don as well as the permanent production crews. 

I remember recalling the event when reading about Yarnell's closing their doors forever.  Not funny anymore.  As I advance in age and many of my old school friends are now gone, I treasure my youthful school day's memories with my friends.  Yarnell's was my ice cream friend throughout all the years of my life.  Their delicious ice cream is now gone forever but never forgotten.

My best regards to all my old friends in Searcy.

Jim Bohannon, Thompson Falls MT  

Yarnell's Angel Food

Do you know the people in the picture, Searcy Sleuths?


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Anita Fuller

Well, you are good to your word...but I can only identify one, maybe two of the people in the picture:  The man in the middle with the bow tie MAY by Jim Robbins, and the man at the right (looking at the picture), with the suit and tie is Ray Yarnell.  Would the small boy beside him be his son, Albert?   I know one of the women, but can't remember her name, YET.  I'll find out.

Beautiful rememberance by Jim Bo. Thanks.  In honor of Yarnells I am serving banana splits, or milk shakes or sundaes to my family who will be here in Greers Ferry this weekend:  Son Chris, his wife Tina, children Madison, Zac and Reanna.  But sadly, not with Yarnells.  It will have to be the hated rival Blue Bell or whatever it's called.

I don't think I ever knew any of the delivery men....I do know Col. Bill Cook worked at Yarnell's for a long time, as did Eddie Best.

Jul 13, 2011 03:48 AM #1
Don Thompson
Donthomp Associates - Sunnyvale, CA

Jim's story brought back more memories of my working at Yarnell's in 1953.

We would don fur lined parkas to go into the frozen food lockers to stack product on shelves. Remember those bon bons one would usually only get at the movie theater? Most of us workers were fond of eating a few of those tasty  treats while back in the locker. That's how my life of crime started.

How about you Jim? Ever succumb to snitching a bon bon?


Jul 13, 2011 04:11 AM #2
Jim Bohannon

Don, let's keep that Bon Bon caper our little secret.

 However, I think the Yarnell's management knew what was going on with the ever shrinking inventory of those tasty little chocolate treats. The management was probably thinking, "well if we don't lose too many, we'll just let them have their little fun."


Jul 13, 2011 07:13 AM #3
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Anita, I'm glad you liked Jim's memories.  Now get busy and get all the names....: )

Don!  Confession is good for the soul.  You're as bad as that Anita Tart Hart.

Jim, it was not as bad as having an employee lose a finger!!

Jul 13, 2011 07:58 AM #4
Anita Fuller

I had TOTALLY forgotten about those bon bons!  Thanks for reminding me, Don.....and later, Jim.  I don't think they were sold at the Rialto for very long.. do y'all know?

Do not wait on me to get the names in the picture:  for one thing, I can barely see them even with my trusty magnifying glass.  I'm still trying to think of the name of the woman.   I just didn't know anyone who might be in the picture, except the ones I've already named.

Jul 14, 2011 01:33 AM #5
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